In April 2018, Vanderslice decided to leap back into his solo career with full force, hunkering down for over 50 days with Telephone engineer/producers James Riotto and Rob Shelton in a process that yielded The Cedars—Vanderslice’s most ambitious record to date. The album’s name is taken from an 11 square mile serpentine canyon that exists in the remote wilderness of West Sonoma County, 90 minutes north of San Francisco, where Vanderslice owns a small portion of communal land nearby. The Cedars is filled with one-of-a-kind geological phenomena: Mars-like red slopes, bizarre mineralized rock formations, and high-alkaline springs that have fostered over 8 different plant species found nowhere else in the world. Vanderslice developed an obsession with this area not only because of its mysterious beauty, but also because it’s almost impossible for anyone to get there due to natural barriers and the surrounding private land ownership.
This obsession with finding the impossible was channeled into his new record: The Cedars (out on Native Cat Recordings spring 2019) approaches the craft of songwriting from every direction but the front, in a non-linear process driven by drum machines, synthesizers, and an unpredictable palette of sonic textures. In an act of getting both figuratively and literally lost in the woods, Vanderslice finds himself favoring chaos and deconstruction over well-worn paths of familiar sounds and instrumentation for his new album—and the results have landed him in a place that’s uncharted, under the spell of a myth.
released April 5, 2019
"I own a small piece of land in very rural West Sonoma and from the tippy top of this land, you can see a strange, Mars-like serpentine canyon called The Cedars. Roughly 11x11 square miles in size, it's a land-locked geological anomaly that has over a dozen endemic trees and plants. It's only 6 miles away but it takes up a mythic space in my mind, like the perfect sound, the perfect lyric. It is unreachable. A lot of this record was written on this land, under the heavy influence of this place." -JV
Written by John Vanderslice, James Riotto, and Rob Shelton
Produced and Engineered by James Riotto and Rob Shelton
Recorded at Tiny Telephone SF A/B and Tiny Telephone Oakland
Mastered by Bernie Grundman